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With the warranty issue addressed, the next question potential purchasers have is invariably how much money can be saved by buying used equipment. The answer is quite a lot. Because companies (or the liquidators) are often selling the equipment to recoup cash, they are normally in a relative hurry to get rid of it, and favor bulk deals with the clearinghouses who end up with large amounts of equipment at a big discount. "All of this adds up to major savings for the new owner," says Davie. "Depending on the equipment, buyers can typically expect to save 60 to 70 percent off the original list price, and 30 to 40 percent off the street prices."
So we have established that warranty should not be an issue, and teased you with savings that could amount to thousands of dollars, but will you be able to get the equipment you need? Probably. To get some idea of just the kind of equipment is available on the used market, ITParade's inventory currently includes Adaptec controllers, EMC, Symmetrix, and Clariion drives and modules, Exabyte tape drives, Hewlett Packard SureStore Tape Libraries, HP FC60 arrays, HP XP equipment, IBM NAS200 systems, DLTape Libraries, Fast T2000 systems, Netfinity EXP equipment and Sun StorEdge T3, A5200 and A1000 systems to name a few. Different equipment arrives all the time and many brokers are able to provide a service by where they will actively look for a piece of equipment you need.
Although some companies may have reservations about buying used equipment, clearing houses like ITParade are quick to point out that this isn't just a garage sale for corporate hand-me-downs. "Top-end hardware at rock-bottom prices is what the secondary market is all about. But it's not a flea market or a fire sale! Corporate users can haunt auction sites or surplus markets and find cheaper deals, but companies like ITParade provide a professional marketplace for pre-owned IT," says Davie.
In some cases, buying used is actually a more viable option than buying new. For example, if you want to replace a failed 18 month old device with exactly the same type and model, thereby eliminating the need to reconfigure a system, you may well have a better chance of finding the exact same device in the used marketplace than by trying to track down a reseller or dealer who has last years model still on the shelf.
With all this said, there are still risks associated with buying used equipment, just in the same way as there are when buying anything else used. If you are uncomfortable with a short or non-manufacturer warranty, or have concerns about how equipment may have been treated, buying used may not be for you.
There are also other considerations. If you are unfamiliar with product ranges and applications, or you have a large purchase to make and want the reassurance that a schmoozing from a manufacturer or large reseller brings, you are best to stick with that route. If you know what you want, and want to save a (good) few bucks getting it, then buying used equipment might be a way to get more storage networking bang for your buck than you ever imagined possible.